Hot summer days playing in the water sprinkler, eating watermelon. Lazy Sunday afternoons when all my cousins would come to visit and we'd run and play for hours. The echoes of red rover, red rover send Michael right over chime in my ear. Me tattling because my cousin Justin made me eat dirt. He made me! I was surrounded by boys. I chased frogs, climbed trees, and played in mud. The warm summer evening that I carried a five gallon bucket with Michael and Justin catching toad frogs, I still remember it like it was just yesterday. There still stands the tree that we would swing from each and every summer. The old rubber tire, best swing ever. There are the trees that I climbed to the tip top of, now Carter climbs them. Cane poles and old bread, sitting on a bucket, fishing with my best pals Justin and Michael. Digging potatoes in the garden, shelling peas on the back porch, the good times, the days gone by.
God bless our home... "Y'all come back when you can stay longer, God bless" something Granny says each time we leave.
These are just a few of the many, many memories I have of 'home'. Growing up, I didn't realize just how blessed I was growing up next door to my grandparents. Oh what I would give now to go back and relive a few of those days. I'd sit longer on the porch, I'd ask more questions about things I'd like to know. Papa's mind can't answer most of those questions for me now. I can't live thinking what I'd like to do. I can however, embrace today, make it a memory and treasure the day that God has given us.
Eyes that sparkle, a soul that shines...Our Papa
Yesterday was one of those days, one I'll treasure. It was the first day since February 17 that Papa was able to be home. Since his surgery, hospital stay, and now he's in the nursing home our lives have changed quite a bit. The mid week visits have turned into short visits at the nursing home. Sunday afternoons spent on their porch have been obsolete. You don't realize what means the most to you until you can't do those things. I've missed sitting on that porch watching him rock so much. His memory is nothing like it was before his last fall or the surgery. We knew this could happen but I suppose you hold out hope thinking that everything will just go back to being normal. I watched as he ate his lunch yesterday, grateful that he was home to sit at the table with us. His body becoming more frail. His memory much slower than it had been. His crystal blue eyes still sparkle though. His mind might not be able to keep up with all that's going on but his eyes and that wink he gave me several times yesterday let me know that he knows who I am. I hope that sparkle never leaves, it is my prayer that until God calls him home he knows who I am. I'm not sure my heart can handle him forgetting who I am. I'll never forget who he is too me.
The boys playing spoons like we did when we were kids. <3
We finished lunch and he laid down for a nap. It wasn't long he was up and looking for some dessert. He doesn't talk much but anytime he's ever been offered something sweet he's not turned it down. Granny fixed him a bowl of cake with strawberries and whip cream. As he always has, he finished it all. We all went out on the porch and it wasn't long, he joined us. My face gleamed as I watched him walk through that backdoor onto the porch. There he sat in his chair, rocking. A sight that I so many times have just rushed by, overlooking. Yesterday, I savored it. I know his days are few, that's something I've had to come to terms with. I sat for almost an hour as I watched him rock, sip his coke, and watch aimlessly as the children played around him. As I watched the boys play, I couldn't help but feel saddened by the fact that if I have more children, will he be here to know them.
He may be from the south but don't offer him sweet tea... he ain't having it!! Coca-Cola only.
Jason sat on the far end of the porch strumming Granny's guitar. Granny soon joined him with her guitar. Listening to them play and watching Papa as he looked on, took me back to those summer days that I mentioned earlier. It was that lazy Sunday afternoon from my childhood. Only difference, I wasn't the child playing in the yard, my children were.
I love to hear my Granny sing, always have... always will.
Oh, what a moment. I can't explain it to you. It was something I will treasure until the day I die. It was just like I was reliving my childhood all over again, and it was so special to me. Granny's sweet voice sang I'll fly away, I sang along but my voice cracked as I fought back tears. I had to press my lips together and look away before I lost it. I was so very, very thankful for that hour with my family. The most precious grandparents in the world, my dear mother who goes above and beyond, my aunts and uncle who each mean something so different yet so special to me, my boys running and playing where I once made so many memories. God was there, no doubt about it.
Carter & Jake, boys will be boys.
I wasn't the only one aware of just how special yesterday afternoon was. Each person there knew just as well as I did, we were blessed. I walked around with my camera to capture a few of the things that remind me most of 'home' when I'm there, and when I'm not.
Granny has the greenest thumb of anyone I know.
It was the little things that as I looked around and thought if I were never able to visually see my grandparents home again, what would I remember. Their family name sign that hangs in the tree just off the porch. Papa's hands gripping the arms of the rocking chair. Granny playing her guitar as she had done so many times before today.
Kids playing, laughter, reminiscing, singing, and just good family times.
My babies making memories on the porch I once played on. <3
I sat down in the chair beside Papa and I asked him if he was okay. He just nodded his head. Continuing to rock, I waited another minute and asked him what he was thinking about. His response to me, "old times". Words that I will remember for years to come. It's the old times, the good times, the memories that make us who we are. Papa has always had a way of saying just one or two word answers that have stuck with me. He's to the point, no beating around the bush. A few weeks back as we stood around his bed in the nursing home I asked him, Papa...do you have any suggestions on what I should do with these two boys? He looked up at me and grinned, "have two more".
This is me and Pa doing our "Papa smile" better known as his scruchy smile.
Little did he know that my heart desires more children. Funny thing is, the night we went to tell my mom we were expecting Carter it was Christmas Eve 2004. I walked into their house with my normal loud entrance. As I made it half way across the room he says, "are you pregnant?" I quickly responded with NO! I didn't want to spoil the way we were going to tell my mom. He looked at me and said, "yes you are, or either you're getting fat". My point in saying all of this, he knows me. He has a special way of knowing what's going on with me. It's that bond that I have with this blue eyed man that I will one day miss.
Aunt Kathy & Papa
Aunt Angie & Papa
The old times, the traditions, the family each something I want my children to know and hold dear to their hearts. Life is so rushed now days that we don't really enjoy the time that we are given unless something drastic happens. May we all slow our lives down, put the things that mean most back at the top of our list.
Momma & Papa
Uncle Faron & Papa
I love my Papa with all my heart and soul. Without him and his support there's no telling where my life may have gone. He's the rock of our family, though his words have always been few and his ways of saying I love you have been uniquely his own, there's not a shadow of doubt in my mind that he loves us each and everyone. His mind might be fading but his love is undying. I'm grateful for the hours he spent at home with us all yesterday. I pray that God will bless us with more happy, memorable days with this sweet man. Please continue to keep him and my dear little Granny in your prayers.
Here's to old times and sweet memories!!
~Blessings to you all~